What Is an RPM File?

How to open and convert RPM files

What to Know

  • An RPM file is a Red Hat package manager file.
  • Open one on Linux with RPM Package Manager, or Windows with 7-Zip.
  • Convert to DEB with Alien.

This article describes two file formats that use the RPM file extension, plus how to open the file and convert it to a different format.

What Is an RPM File?

A file with the RPM file extension is a Red Hat package manager file that's used to store installation packages on Linux operating systems. These files provide an easy way for software to be distributed, installed, upgraded, and removed since they're "packaged" in one place.

Several RPM files in Windows 10
RPM Files. Lifewire / Tim Fisher 

Completely unrelated to what Linux uses them for, RPM is also the file extension used for plug-ins by the RealPlayer software to add additional features to the program.

RPM stands for remote print manager, too, but also might have nothing at all to do with computer files, like when referring to the frequency rotation measurement revolutions per minute.

How to Open an RPM File

It's important to realize that Red Hat RPM files can't be used on Windows computers like they can on Linux systems. However, since they're just archives, any popular compression/decompression program, like 7-Zip or PeaZip, can open one to reveal the files inside.

Linux users can open RPM files with the package management system called RPM Package Manager. Use this command, where "file.rpm" is the name of the file you want to install:

rpm -i file.rpm

In the previous command, "-i" means to install the file, so you can replace it with "-U" to perform an upgrade. The command below will install the RPM file and remove any previous versions of the same package:

rpm -U file.rpm

Visit RPM.org and the Linux Foundation for help using the rpm command.

If your file is a plug-in, the RealPlayer program should be able to use it, but you probably can't open the file from within the program itself. In other words, if RealPlayer needs to use this file, it will most likely grab it from its installation folder since there isn't a menu item in the program that can import one.

RMP files are spelled almost identical to RPM files, and they just so happen to be RealPlayer metadata package files, which means you can open both types in RealPlayer.

How to Convert an RPM File

Commands that invoke the Linux Alien software can be used to convert RPM to DEB. The following commands will install Alien and then use it to convert the file:

apt-get install alien
alien -d file.rpm

You can replace "-d" with "-i" to convert the package and then immediately start the install.

AnyToISO can convert RPM to the ISO format.

If you want to save the file to some other archive format like TARTBZZIPBZ27Z, etc., you can use the FileZigZag website.

To convert RPM to MP3MP4, or some other non-archive format like that, your best bet is to first extract the files from the archive. You can do that with a decompression program like we mentioned above. Then, once you've taken the MP3 (or whatever file) out of the RPM file, use a free file converter on those files.

Even though it has nothing to do with the file extensions mentioned on this page, you can also convert revolutions per minute into other measurements like hertz and radians per second.

Still Can't Open It?

At this point, if your file doesn't open even after following the steps above or installing a compatible RPM file opener, then there's a good chance you're not really dealing with one of the formats described above. The most likely case is that you've misread the file extension.

There are lots of files that share similar file extension letters, but are in fact not related to Red Hat or RealPlayer. EPM is one example, as is RPP which is a REAPER Project plain text file used by the REAPER program.

RRM is a similar suffix used for RAM Meta files. Much like RPP, the two look a lot like they say RPM, but they're not the same and therefore don't open with the same programs. However, in this particular instance, an RMM file may actually open with RealPlayer since it's a Real Audio Media (RAM) file—but it doesn't work with Linux.

If your file doesn't end in these file extensions, use Google or Lifewire to research the actual extension to learn more about the programs that can be used to open or convert it.

  • Can .RPM files be used/run in Windows?

    .RPM files can be viewed, or extracted, in Windows, but they can't be run/used outside of a Linux operating system. There isn't a one-to-one analog to a .RPM file on Windows, but .MSI files offer similar functionality.

  • Can .RPM files be used/run on Macs?

    They can, but you will need a third-party tool, like RPM Package Manager, to do this. With a tool like the RPM Package Manager, you can then install .RPMs. However, Macs tend to use the .DMG format for housing their apps.

Was this page helpful?